Should I wear a face mask for protection?

Did you know we breathe almost 6,000 times more air in a lifetime than we consume water?  If we all drink bottled water, shouldn’t we filter our air when we breathe that much more? Common sense says yes.

Each of us are unique with different reactions our environment. Air quality that may be fine for one person may not be so for you. Your needs are based several on both personal and environmental factors.

Personal Factors Include:

  • Susceptibility to pollution or bad air qualityShould I wear a face mask for protection?
  • Hay fever or allergy sufferer
  • Already sick or compromised immune system
  • Children with developing lungs and immune systems
  • Aged or elderly
  • Sick and infectious

If you fall into any of these categories, then you should be considering wearing a air filtering mask.

Environmental Factors Include:

  • Pollution levels or bad air quality in your environment
  • Work related hazards such found in construction, maintenance, beauty/hair salons, store clerks and many other occupations
  • Close contact with people in your micro environment such as planes, trains, rapid transit systems, elevators, hospitals and large gatherings
  • Live near construction sites where they are building roads, buildings or condominiums nearby.
  • Nearby factories or businesses sending particulates or chemicals into the air.

Should I wear a face mask for protection?

It is important to note that your environment can change very quickly. It can be a lovely day and then you step into a crowded train near a sick person or into an elevator in your building. You could live in the suburbs where the air quality is good, commute to work down a busy polluted street.

How can I know the pollution levels in my environment?

There are many apps to help you find the pollution level in your area. A couple we recommend are:

Air Visual  –

Plume Air Report –

How bad are the risks?  Evaluate the risks and the cost of doing nothing.  Remember the effects of pollution are cumulative like the damaging rays of the sun.  The effects may not show up now but later as they manifest in your body.

What is the cost of getting sick?  Trips to the doctor plus missed time at work can be significant. The cost of an air mask is a minor investment no matter what type you buy. One averted doctor visit or work day lost could pay for a lot of protection.

Other Considerations

Answering Objections

To some, the thought of wearing an air mask is unpleasant. Those are understandable objections. But should you really avoid protecting yourself, just because you are afraid of what people think?

In western societies there seems to be a stigma about wearing air masks. They are not normal there like they are in Asia and some other areas.  Yet in western societies almost everyone drinks filtered water as a prevention. If you drink filtered water for your health why wouldn’t you filter your air?

Should I wear a face mask for protection?Not An All or None Situation

If you are having trouble getting over the stigma, here is something to consider. Air masks are not required anywhere near 100% of the time. You only need to protect yourself when you are in need. The rest of the time your mask can stay safely tucked in your pocket, purse or briefcase. An air mask is a lot like “an umbrella for your health”.  If you need it use it. 

The Effects of Pollution Are Cumulative

It is important to realize that the effects of pollution are cumulative over time.  Some people will show signs immediately.  They are probably lucky, since they would be more inclined to seek protection.

People who doesn’t experience immediate symptoms may be less inclined to seek protection, but later in life the effects begin to surface.  Several studies now show the cumulative effects of pollution.

Considerations About the Spread of Disease

No filtering face mask can guarantee that you will not get sick.  But, not wearing any protection insures you have no protection.  The choice is yours!

An MIT study revealed: “that disease spread by sneezing travels much farther than originally thought. The study found that coughs and sneezes are far more adept at spreading viruses than they had thought.  They say the discovery means office ventilation systems play a far bigger role in spreading disease that previously thought.”

Should I wear a face mask for protection?

According to a new University of Maryland study, “It is easier to spread the influenza virus (flu) than previously thought, according to a new study. People commonly believe that they can catch the flu by exposure to droplets from an infected person’s coughs or sneezes or by touching contaminated surfaces. But, new information about flu transmission reveals that we may pass the flu to others just by breathing.”

What to Look For in an Air Mask

There are many styles of masks and buying and wearing the right mask is important.

  • Active carbon  – Not all hazards are particulates, some are gaseous
  • Fit – If it doesn’t fit, it won’t work well
  • Sealing – Air is like water, it seeks the path of least resistance. Make sure you mask seals!
  • Comfort – If it isn’t comfortable you won’t wear it as often.
  • Appearance – If you look sharp, you will be wearing it more often.
  • Lifespan – The longer they last, the less the cost per day of protection.
  • Cost – Weigh the features, benefits and your needs

For more on the features and benefits of the StyeleSEAL Air Mask, see this blog.

Should I wear a face mask for protection?

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